Reese Witherspoon & Jenna Bush Hager Announce August Book Club Titles | Book Pulse

Book club picks make the news as Reese Witherspoon selects Everything Inside: Stories by Edwidge Danticat. Jenna Bush Hager names two for the month: The Comeback by Ella Berman and Here for It: Or, How To Save Your Soul in America; Essays by R. Eric Thomas. Vox's group will read The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. More top reading choices for August arrive as well and Luster by Raven Leilani and The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi get buzzy coverage. Stephen King has a new book for next March.

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Book Club Picks

Reese Witherspoon picks Everything Inside: Stories by Edwidge Danticat (Knopf) as her August book club title.

Jenna Bush Hager picks two titles for August: The Comeback by Ella Berman (Berkley: Penguin) and Here for It: Or, How To Save Your Soul in America; Essays by R. Eric Thomas (Random House; LJ starred review).

Vox picks The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Riverhead: Penguin) as its August book club read.


The L.A. Times reviews Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy (Flatiron: Macmillan; LJ starred review): “If worry is the staple emotion that most climate fiction evokes in its readers, Migrations --  the novelistic equivalent of an energizing cold plunge -- flutters off into more expansive territory.”

USA Today reviews The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi (Riverhead: Penguin; LJ starred review), giving it 3.5 stars and writing it is "A wrenching tale of grief and identity ... luminous." Also, The Hollow Ones by Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan (Grand Central: Hachette), giving it 2.5 stars and writing “A dark spirit driving people to murder is the premise of countless horror mysteries, and "Hollow Ones" unfortunately offers little new to this well-worn subject.”

NPR also reviews The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi (Riverhead: Penguin; LJ starred review): “Their propulsive writing blasts through the familiar plot beats of literary fiction. Abandoning structure is a risky choice, but Emezi pulls it off.”

The Washington Post reviews The Standardization of Demoralization Procedures by Jennifer Hofmann (Little, Brown: Hachette): "She’s created a story that John le Carré might have written for “The Twilight Zone,” the tale of a spy who comes in from the cold while his world turns inside out."

 The NYT reviews Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson (Random House; LJ starred review): “a book that is at once beautifully written and painful to read … What distinguishes Wilkerson is her grasp of the power of individual narratives to illustrate such general ideas, allowing her to tell us what these abstract notions have meant in the lived experience.” Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy (Flatiron: Macmillan; LJ starred review): “a visceral and haunting novel.” After the Last Border: Two Families and the Story of Refuge in America by Jessica Goudeau (Viking: Penguin): “simply brilliant, both in its granular storytelling and its enormous compassion. This book should be required reading.” A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America’s Hurricanes by Eric Jay Dolin (Liveright: W. W. Norton): “most compelling is in its often harrowing details. It’s filled with haunting personal stories." Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica, translated by Sarah Moses (Scribner: S. & S.): “From the first words of the Argentine novelist Agustina Bazterrica’s second novel … the reader is already the livestock in the line, reeling, primordially aware that this book is a butcher’s block, and nothing that happens next is going to be pretty." Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-Up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World by Lesley M. Blume (S. & S.): “a book of serious intent that is nonetheless pleasant to read. There are knowable reasons for this, including Blume’s flawless paragraphs; her clear narrative structure; her compelling stories, subplots and insights; her descriptions." The End of Everything: (Astrophysically Speaking) by Katie Mack (Scribner: S. & S.): “a pleasure. Mack’s style is personal and often funny as she guides us along a cosmic timeline studded with scientific esoterica and mystery.”  Inferno: A Memoir of Motherhood and Madness by Catherine Cho (Henry Holt: Macmillan): “Discussions of severe mental illness in mothers continue to induce discomfort and judgment in those who have never experienced it, and embarrassment and shame in those who have. The persistence of such stigmas makes memoirs like Cho’s all the more courageous.”Life of a Klansman: A Family History in White Supremacy by Edward Ball (FSG: Macmillan): “The interconnected strands of race and history give Ball’s entrancing stories a Faulknerian resonance.” Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl by Jonathan C. Slaght (FSG: Macmillan; LJ starred review): “Mostly this is a book about the rigors of fieldwork, about cohabitating in close quarters, being stranded for weeks by storms, floods and melting ice, rejiggering strategies … all vividly rendered.” The Tunnel by A. B. Yehoshua (HMH): “translated smoothly from the Hebrew by Stuart Schoffman — is about how one couple copes with the initial news that from now on, everything is going to be different.” Looking for Miss America: A Pageant’s 100-Year Quest to Define Womanhood by Margot Mifflin (Counterpoint): “at its best when Mifflin pauses this sweeping summary to tell the stories of individual contestants. The pageant’s tensions and ambiguities emerge most vividly through the way particular women understood them in the context of their particular time.” Kings County by David Goodwillie (Avid Reader: S. & S.): "a stylish writer, smart and witty without being a show-off ... depicts such people with genuine, unmitigated sympathy and good-fellowship.”

Briefly Noted

The Millions picks for the best books of August.

Entertainment Weekly gathers “20 late-summer must-reads coming in August.”

Vulture surveys “25 Notable New Releases Over the Next Two Weeks.”

Bustle offers “The Best New Books Out The Week Of August 3” and “August's Most Anticipated Books.”

Vogue gathers “7 Books We Can't Wait To Read In August.”

The NYT has “New & Noteworthy Audiobooks.”

Andrew Child has summer reading picks for Amazon.

LJ has two collection development pieces: a focus on Christian Fiction and Barbara Hoffert’s survey of the debuts of the summer and fall.

The Guardian posts the very longlist for the Not the Booker prize and opens voting for the short list.

In forthcoming book news, Subterranean Press will publish a new novella by Connie Willis. Take a Look at the Five and Ten is due out in November.

Entertainment Weekly has an early look at Accidentally Wes Anderson by Wally Koval (Voracious: Hachette). Also forthcoming, next March, is another Stephen King book, Later (Hard Case Crime: Random House). Entertainment Weekly has some details.

Vulture reports that Marisa Tomei will narrate the audio version of Elena Ferrante’s The Lying Life of Adults.

Yet another spoof of Goodnight Moon is in the works, this one for the pandemic age. USA Today reports on Good Morning Zoom, written by Lindsay Rechler and illustrated by June Park (Philomel) scheduled for Oct. 6.

The A.V. Club highlights Luster by Raven Leilani (FSG: Macmillan) as well as The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi (Riverhead: Penguin; LJ starred review).

The NYT features Behrouz Boochani, No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison (Anansi International; LJ starred review).

Electric Lit puts Viet Thanh Nguyen and Phuc Tran in conversation. Their books are Sigh, Gone: A Misfit’s Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight To Fit In by Phuc Tran (Flatiron: Macmillan) and, coming next March, The Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press).

Amazon interviews David Nicholls, Sweet Sorrow (Mariner: HMH; LJ starred review).

Vulture features Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson (Random House; LJ starred review).

Slate features Reaganland: America's Right Turn 1976-1980 by Rick Perlstein (S. & S.).

Vogue excerpts Great Demon Kings: A Memoir of Poetry, Sex, Art, Death, and Enlightenment by John Giorno (FSG: Macmillan).

Vanity Fair excerpts The Grifter's Club: Trump, Mar-a-Lago, and the Selling of the Presidency by Sarah Blaskey, Nicholas Nehamas, Caitlin Ostroff, Jay Weaver (PublicAffairs: Hachette).

Refinery29 excerpts The Rocket Years: How Your Twenties Launch the Rest of Your Life by Elizabeth Segran (Harper).

BuzzFeed has a list of virtual book events for the week.

PRH extends its temporary ebook and digital terms for libraries. LJ's   INFOdocket reports.

The Department of Justice goes after John Bolton’s book earnings and advance. Publishers Weekly reports.

Vulture reports on accusations of racism against George R. R. Martin after his Hugo hosting duties caused outrage.

Authors on Air

The newest version of The Secret Garden finally reaches screens. The L.A. Times reports.

Variety has news that US rights have sold for the untitled film based on Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s memoir Guantánamo Diary. It stars Jodie Foster, Shailene Woodley, Tahar Rahim, and Benedict Cumberbatch.

Sydney Sweeney plans a TV series adaptation of Jessica Goodman’s They Wish They Were Us. Netflix is buying The Woman in the Window, the thriller based on the A.J. Finn novel . The CW releases “Real Heroes Wear Masks” public service announcement posters, featuring DC comic characters. Deadline reports.

Vanity Fair writes “Black Storytellers Are Using Horror to Battle Hate: After Get Out, movies such as Antebellum, the upcoming Candyman retelling, and other tales of terror and the macabre are part of a cultural exorcism centuries in the making.”

Both Vulture and HuffPost have pieces on I’ll Be Gone in the Dark.

The A.V. Club has a look at August releases, some with bookish ties.

NPR's All Things Considered interviews Akwaeke Emezi, The Death of Vivek Oji (Riverhead: Penguin; LJ starred review).

PBS NewsHour interviews Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own (Crown: Random House).

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